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Fly Fishing Review

Better Casting through Science with S.A. Sharkskin Fly Lines (continued)

Casting and Management cont'd: After a few days fishing in the Eastern Sierras I found I was able to cast farther with the Sharkskin line but a second benefit was positioning of very short casts in streams. Short casts are able to be made with less effort making it easy to position dry flies precisely. When it comes to handling the same micro patterns that improve casting also change the meniscus force by trapping air in between the actual texture resulting in a significant improvement in resistance of the line versus the water. The result is a line that floats better and is easier to pick up when mending and roll casting.

There is a welded streamlined loop for easy connections

Durability: The Sharkskin line handled great in our tests, and after going back to traditional lines I started to feel like they actually felt stiff. The micro-patterns in the Sharkskin line actually increase the number of “flex points” throughout the line allowing it to become more supple. They do not however decrease durability and I had no problems with strength throughout the field tests. I did however encounter another attribute of the line, it did pick up more residue from the water whenever there was a lot of vegetation or debris on the surface. The line is just as easy to clean however and standard fly line cleaner is all it takes to bring the Sharkskin back to top form.

The line handles well but we notice it is a bit louder going through guides

Price & Applications: So what does all this performance cost? Around 100 dollars per spool, making the Sharkskin among the most expensive fly lines on the market. At roughly 30-60% more expensive than traditional premium fly lines the Sharkskin will likely be adopted by serious fly fishermen first, but the benefits actually make it a great choice for the complete spectrum of anglers, all the way down to beginners.

The line feels different through guides but casts extremely well

The question is whether or not more novice fly fishermen will want to shell out the extra money for the higher end line. During our field tests I got three other beginner fly fisherman to cast two different lines of the same weight on the same Powell test rod. The first line was a traditional SA GPX line, the second was our Sharkskin test line. After a few normal casts, mends, and roll casts two out of the three anglers felt like the Sharkskin line was easier to cast and pick off the water, the third didn’t feel like the casted any better at his skill level but agreed that the line seemed to float better making it easy to pick the line up to make mends. Afterwards all three said they would be willing to pay the extra money to fish with the Sharkskin line.

Subtle adjustments and pickups are made easier with superior flotation

Scientific Anglers currently has a number of application specific Sharkskin series lines including Ultimate Trout Taper, Saltwater, Steelhead, Magnum, GPX, and even shooting lines. The company continues to add updated versions and even though only one floating taper is currently available it does cover a wide range of applications. If you are tossing dry flies or drifting nymphs this line is exceptional.


Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Line (Ultimate Trout Taper)
Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent construction that we have come to expect from Scientific Anglers 9
Performance Though the line felt strange at first it proved to be all that SA claimed it to be. The lien casts better, floats better, is easier to handle, and reduces lien flash with a matte finish 9.5
Price Yikes! 99 dollars for a fly line! This premium fly line does cost significantly more than most fly lines but it is worth the money for the complete spectrum of anglers as long as you go fly fishing more than just a few times a year 5
Features Plenty of features that all come from a unique micro textured surface design 8
Design (Ergonomics) Easier to handle and a pleasure to fish with, the only problems with the line is it does get dirty faster than some other lines, but is just as easy to clean 8
Application SA has Sharkskin lines for most applications and will continue to expand the series 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Easy to make longer casts L Expensive for a fly line
J Superior flotation L Get's dirtier than slick fly lines
J Superior handling  
J Durability surprisingly good  
J Reduced line flash (more stealth)  
J Good for wide range of applications


Sharkskin lines are now my line of choice for targeting rainbows, is it worth the extra cost? Absolutely.


Conclusion: Scientific Anglers leads the pack when it comes to technology and the Sharkskin line is quite a breakthrough in the category. Unlike other lines that simply alter characteristics of traditional design the S.A. Shrakskin line turns to nature for a different take on fly lines altogether. After fishing with the Sharkskin line in the Eastern Sierras it has quickly become my fly line of choice, and I employ it whether I’m looking to make better roll casts when targeting steelhead or looking to reduce line flash when fishing for backcountry browns. Though expensive the Sharkskin line is worth the extra money for not just accomplished fly casters but also beginners looking for an easier line to fish. Reduced friction, improved casting, better line management, and improved flotation are just some of the factors that make the Scientific Angler’s Sharkskin line the first and only fly line ever to win our Editors Choice Award.











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